Legal Assistance of Olmsted County

Legal Assistance of Olmsted County (LAOC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides free civil legal services to low income persons. Mission Statement: LAOC ensures access to justice by providing meaningful legal representation in civil matters to our low-income neighbors of Olmsted County. Vision Statement: Legal Assistance aims to have a positive effect on our entire community by championing:

  • Stability for families
  • Accountability that leads to better housing
  • Relief for victims of domestic violence
  • Alleviation of overburdened Courts

LAOC is proud to offer the following fundraisers. Click to learn more and by tickets.

Our Services

LAOC provides legal services to individuals through four programs:
  1. Direct representation by the LAOC staff attorneys in the areas of family law and landlord tenant law.
  2. The Volunteer Attorney Program (“VAP”) where private attorneys agree to take cases for clients who have been screened through the LAOC intake process and either need representation in a matter that is not an area of LAOC expertise, where there is a conflict of interest with LAOC and the client, or when LAOC attorneys are not able to take on additional cases and the client needs immediate assistance.
  3. A landlord tenant hotline where any caller can speak to an attorney or trained advocate regarding housing issues.
  4. Clinics and other outreach programs sponsored by LAOC including:
  • Weekly landlord tenant clinic offered by LAOC staff attorneys for income-qualifying clients
  • Clinics offered at the Olmsted County Law Library where LAOC recruits volunteers to host weekly family law clinics, monthly financial and consumer law clinics, and bi-monthly expungement clinics
  • Annual “Celebrate Pro Bono Week” free legal clinics where volunteer attorneys offer free legal advice on a wide variety of civil topics.

Meet the Team

Karen Fairbairn Nath
Executive Director, Attorney at Law

Karen Fairbairn Nath, J.D. graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1988. She practiced labor/employment law at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis before she went in-house and worked in the Holiday Companies’ Legal Department.

Peter A. Foss
Attorney at Law

Peter A. Foss, J.D. graduated in 2006 from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he participated in clinical programs including the Wisconsin Innocence Project and the Public Defender Project.

Richard T. Wright
Attorney at Law

Rich Wright, J.D. graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1996, where he was the recipient of the pro bono award for his work to help seniors and those in need obtain medical coverage. Rich is licensed in Minnesota, Washington, and Wisconsin. His experience includes criminal prosecution and defense, family law, landlord-tenant, insurance defense, personal injury, intellectual property, employment, contracts, military, trust and estate, and discrimination. Rich is active in our community and has served on a number of local boards and volunteered for a variety of organizations in an effort to make our community a stronger, better, place for all.

Kayleen Asmus
Attorney at Law

Kayleen Asmus, J.D. graduated in 2018 from the University of Iowa College of Law, where she worked as a research assistant in the Writing Resource Center and was a student writer for the Journal of Corporation Law. Kayleen received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado State University with a major in English and minor in History. Kayleen is licensed to practice law in both Minnesota and Iowa.

Manal Abbadi

Manal Abbadi graduated from Winona State University in May of 2018. She majored in Legal Studies with an emphasis on government and non-government organizations. Manal volunteered and interned with LAOC for over a year before joining our team as a paralegal in April of 2018. Manal is originally from Rochester and graduated from Mayo High School in 2014. In addition to working at LAOC, Manal is serving on the Human Rights Commission of Olmsted County and enjoys volunteering throughout Olmsted County.

Kristy Arndt Turner
Office Administrator

Kristy Arndt Turner started working as the LAOC Office Administrator in 2008. Kristy is responsible for grant reporting and invoicing, maintaining the client databases, as well as the office bookkeeping, payroll, and general operations.

Victoria Ness
Volunteer Coordinator,
Legal Assistance of Olmsted County

Victoria Ness is a native of Rochester and graduated from Mayo High School. After serving in the military, she graduated from Winona State University with a Masters in Counseling Education and a Bachelor’s in Social Work and a minor in Psychology. Victoria is responsible for the Volunteer Attorney Program and coordinates all the legal clinics, placing pro bono cases, and assisting the Executive Director in fundraising, marketing, trainings, and volunteerism. She has spent hundreds of hours volunteering in this community and her passion is teaching and providing people with the tools they need to be productive and successful in their own lives and community.